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Pro Bowl's future hinges on effort of players

By Ferd Lewis

LAST UPDATED: 2:37 p.m. HST, Jan 22, 2013

Chicago Bears cornerback Charles Tillman said the NFL players understand their performance has to improve in Sunday's Pro Bowl for the annual all-star game to continue.

"I think the message is clear," Tillman said today at a press conference. "The quality of the play has to be better than it was last year. For those guys playing Sunday, I think the message is very clear: we have to play better," said Tillman, who is playing in his second consecutive Pro Bowl.

Kickoff for the nationally televised game is 2 p.m. at Aloha Stadium.

The NFL considered doing away with the Pro Bowl after the 2012 game suffered from lackluster play but agreed to continue the game this year on a trial basis.

Ray Anderson, NFL executive vice president of football operations, said the league expects them to play with something approaching the level that earned them appearances in the Pro Bowl.

In 2012, Anderson said, the performance "wasn't up to our brand or what our fans deserved."

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